Seven players were cut after Wednesday’s night scrimmage at the North Stars training camp, bringing the current roster down to 31 players from the original 38.
Head coach and general manager Nate Bedford said most of the cuts were made simply because the players were on the younger side of things.
“For the most parts, our cuts were due to age,” Bedford said. “We were looking at cutting 99s and 2000s. I thought all the guys that tried out worked as hard as they could. Certainly the guys that were cut are going to get some invites back.”
The cuts included Ty Muench, a North Stars fourth round pick in the bantam draft this past June, and Austin Wieler, a Laird, Sask. native who played midget AAA for the Saskatoon Contacts last season.
What was clear on Wednesday night was players felt a little bit drained. On Tuesday, Bedford said he thought the pace of camp would pick up as the week went on, but by the end of Wednesday’s scrimmage the intensity had dropped off.
“I think guys are tired. I think it’s been a long four days for them,” Bedford said. “It was a little bit slow here in the last half of this game. [But] it is what it is. I’m not going to be too hard on them. We’ve talked about how quick we want to play this year and how hard we’re going to work and I think guys know that.”
During the final scrimmage, the line of Connor Logan, Layne Young and Conor Jensen had a significant showing for team black, who won the game 8-3.
Logan is a new addition, coming over from the BCHL where he tallied 19 points for the Prince George Spruce Kings last season. His speed and fitness testing have stood out so far in camp.
Young led all rookies last season for the North Stars with 75 points, good enough to claim Rookie of the Year honours. He also added 13 points in 10 playoffs games and is a fair bet to have another strong offensive season this year.
Jensen played defence for the North Stars last year, registering 13 assists in 45 games, but was moved up to forward for camp, something that Bedford has been pleasantly surprised with.
Connor Manegre is another player who has been moved up to forward for camp, despite playing defence for his entire career.
These moves are evidence that Bedford and his staff simply want to pick the best 25 players available, regardless of positions or line combinations.
“We’re trying to pick the best 25 guys that will win us games,” Bedford said. “Lineups will be altered as we go through exhibition.
“I’ll tell you one thing, though. Layne Young is on our top line,” Bedford add, smiling.
The next cuts for camp will be made after Sunday’s exhibition game at home against Bonnyville. That game will be the second of six preseason games on tap.
The regular season kicks off September 16 at home against Kindersley.
Nathan Kanter is battlefordsNOW’s sports reporter and voice of the Battlefords North Stars. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @NathanKanter11.
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